Posts Tagged ‘government’

Raise a glass for freedom, not government control

Raise a glass for freedom, not government control

Our job at the Beacon Center is to empower Tennesseans to reclaim control of their lives, so that they can freely pursue the American Dream. All too often, government puts up barriers that make it hard for people to realize those dreams. We find those barriers and break them down, paving a clearer path to freedom and prosperity. Oftentimes, it’s easier to spot new barriers and stop them in their tracks before they are erected. This is one of those times.

A new bill in the state legislature (SB426-HB543) seeks to erect a barrier between brewers and wholesalers. Several industries, including much of the alcohol industry, has what’s called a “three-tiered system,” essentially preventing different stages of a product to be integrated under the same ownership. For example, a wine producer can’t also sell his own wine without first selling it to a middleman wholesaler. The bill in question seeks to impose this same separation of ownership on the beer industry. And it will do so under the guise of protecting craft brewers from the big guys.

Trust me, I’m not a “big guy” fan. When I graduated from college, I also graduated from the watered-down, mass-produced beers of the world. My local bartender will tell you that I’m exclusively a craft guy (when I’m not drinking scotch). Good People IPA is my beer of choice. So I am sensitive to the notion that we must protect our craft beer industry. But we can do that by demanding more access to craft beers—through our buying choices—not through additional laws and regulations.

While well intended, the proposed law has dire consequences. Under the bill, a craft brewer could not sell his business to a company that owns a beer wholesaler. So in an effort to “protect” the little guy, this proposal would tell the little guy who he can and cannot sell his business to. That doesn’t sound much like protection to me; it sounds like an affront to the American Dream.

The theory is that if the big guys like Budweiser, Miller, and Coors can serve as producer, distributor, and retailer, they can squash out their craft competition. But reality is that as the craft craze grows, we the consumers will force the big guys to sell us what we want to drink. All this proposal will do is make it harder for the craft guys to realize their fullest potential. It also sets a dangerous precedent that if you work hard, start your own business, and sweat and toil to grow it into a success, you may still have to get the government’s permission to sell it to a willing buyer. I just can’t get on board with that.

While the proponents of this legislation may frame it as a battle between craft brewers and the big beer industry, it’s really a battle between government control and freedom. I for one will be raising my glass—full of craft beer—to freedom.

-Justin Owen

 

Editor’s note: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that the proposed bill would limit ownership between retailers and brewers, and retailers and wholesalers. Such restrictions already exist in state law. The bill would restrict ownership between brewers and wholesalers.

 

February 20th, 2015 | Beacon Blog, Recent News

UAW Shows the Ugly Face Behind Its Friendly Mask

UAW Shows the Ugly Face Behind Its Friendly Mask

News broke yesterday that the United Auto Workers has begun aggressively bullying workers at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The union released a list of “scab” workers and called on union members to confront those workers to get them to fall into line.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the statement that accompanied the list of names read as follows:

“The following individuals are NON-dues paying workers. They have chosen to STOP paying Union Dues and still reap the rewards of your negotiated benefits,” the sign says. “If you work near one of these people listed please explain the importance of Solidarity and the power of collective bargaining.”

While this is unsurprising given the UAW’s history, these tactics prove that the only way the union can bilk money from workers is to use force and intimidation. And it’s using its own members as its henchmen. This disgusting display should be brought to an immediate end by the GM plant’s leadership.

This further shows that workers at the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant better watch out. We’ve been sounding the alarm that the UAW will stop at nothing to fund its radical political agenda. While it may try to mask its true intentions at the Chattanooga plant by creating a voluntary, dues-free union, what is happening in Spring Hill let’s us see the ugly truth behind that mask.

-Justin Owen

October 8th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Recent News

That’s Some “Fine” Nature Photography

That’s Some “Fine” Nature Photography

In this week’s “Can Government Get Any Stupider?” entry, it will soon be illegal to take pictures in certain national parks. The U.S. Forest Service has announced that it will begin fining photographers $1,000 for snapping photos of nature. Akin to taxing the air we breathe, this is just another boneheaded idea for a government agency to rake in more money. If the Forest Service is so bored that it’s found it necessary to target nature photographers—and violate the First Amendment in the process—maybe it’s time to have a discussion about whether the agency needs to exist in the first place.

And for those environmentalists who claim this is a wise approach to “protect” public lands, I have two responses. First, the lands are public because we taxpayers forked over the dough to make them so, thus we’re entitled to traipse all over them and take as many pictures as our SD cards can hold. And second, if you really want to preserve land from “the public,” un-hug that tree, get a job, and buy it yourself. Once it’s your land, you can stop people from “exploiting” it. Until then, don’t try and convince some government bureaucrat to tell us what we can and can’t do with our land.

-Justin Owen

September 25th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News